Qatar Moto3: Antonelli beats Binder by 0.007s in photo finish

Niccolo Antonelli opened the new Moto3 season with his third career victory in Qatar, outdragging Brad Binder to win a thrilling photo finish by a scant 0.007s.

Ajo KTM rider Binder looked to have done enough to hang on for his maiden Grand Prix win when he arrived at the start of the final lap with his lead intact, the South African heading a tightly bunched group of seven bikes.

But exiting the final corner, Binder had Antonelli, who had vaulted to second at Turn 1 on the final tour, for company - and the Ongetta Honda rider was able to get the tow to pip his rival to the finish line.

"On the last lap, I knew if I stayed behind Brad I had a chance," said Antonelli. "I'm very happy because it wasn't an easy weekend, I was sick, but today I was better and I could push very hard."

Runner-up Binder commented: "I knew it was gonna be close, either just win it or take second. The last two laps I pushed really hard, and I noticed nobody passed me [before the finish line] so I thought I could hang on."

Just behind the lead duo, Francesco Bagnaia stole an unlikely podium for the Aspar Mahindra team, battling his way through on the final lap to take the Indian marque's best Moto3 result since 2014.

Sky Racing's Romano Fenati had been one of the race's main protagonists, the Italian starting from pole and spending much of the race swapping the lead with Binder.

But the KTM rider blew any chance of victory when he ran wide at the first corner on the final lap, eventually recovering to fourth ahead of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Honda) - a late joiner to the lead group - and Fenati's teammate Niccolo Bulega.

Rookie star Bulega enjoyed a brief spell in the lead with three laps to go, but was ultimately shuffled back to sixth place ahead of Livio Loi (RW Honda), who squandered his front row start when he ran wide at the start of the second lap.

Phillip Oettl (Schedl KTM) and Jakub Kornfeil (SIC Honda) completed the top 10, with Leopard Racing's Fabio Quartararo getting bogged down in the second group of riders early on and ultimately finishing a disappointing 13th after starting third on the grid.

Race results:

PosRiderBikeTime
1 ItalyNiccolo Antonelli  Honda NSF250RW 38:12.161
2 South AfricaBrad Binder  KTM RC 250 GP +0.007
3 ItalyFrancesco Bagnaia  Mahindra MGP30 +0.148
4 ItalyRomano Fenati  KTM RC 250 GP +0.435
5 ItalyEnea Bastianini  Honda NSF250RW +0.606
6 ItalyNicolo Bulega  KTM RC 250 GP +0.625
7 SpainJorge Navarro  Honda NSF250RW +0.674
8 BelgiumLivio Loi  Honda NSF250RW +1.710
9  Philipp Oettl  KTM RC 250 GP +8.611
10 Czech RepublicJakub Kornfeil  Honda NSF250RW +10.947
11 FranceJules Danilo  Honda NSF250RW +12.379
12 SpainJoan Mir  KTM RC 250 GP +12.380
13 FranceFabio Quartararo  KTM RC 250 GP +12.401
14 NetherlandsBo Bendsneyder  KTM RC 250 GP +12.726
15  Aron Canet  Honda NSF250RW +12.784
16 SpainMaria Herrera  KTM RC 250 GP +12.939
17 ItalyAndrea Migno  KTM RC 250 GP +17.152
18 JapanHiroki Ono  Honda NSF250RW +17.367
19 SpainGabriel Rodrigo  KTM RC 250 GP +17.451
20 MalaysiaAdam Norrodin  Honda NSF250RW +17.519
21 ItalyAndrea Locatelli  KTM RC 250 GP +17.566
22 MalaysiaKhairul Idham Pawi  Honda NSF250RW +17.608
23 South AfricaDarryn Binder  Mahindra MGP30 +31.939
24 FranceAlexis Masbou  Peugeot MGP30 +31.949
25  Juanfran Guevara  KTM RC 250 GP +32.120
26 ItalyFabio Di Giannantonio  Honda NSF250RW +32.333
27 United KingdomJohn McPhee  Peugeot MGP30 +32.547
28 JapanTatsuki Suzuki  Mahindra MGP30 +32.812
29 ItalyStefano Valtulini  Mahindra MGP30 +34.584
30 Czech RepublicKarel Hanika  Mahindra MGP30 +59.105
31 ItalyLorenzo Petrarca  Mahindra MGP30 +59.109
32 ItalyFabio Spiranelli  Mahindra MGP30 +1:34.948
R Jorge Martin  Mahindra MGP30
+1 Lap
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About this article
Series Moto3
Event Losail
Track Losail International Circuit
Drivers Jorge Navarro , Brad Binder , Romano Fenati
Article type Race report